The Kennedy Center

Jonathan Biss


Twenty-eight-year-old American pianist Jonathan Biss has already proved himself an accomplished and exceptional musician with a flourishing international reputation through his orchestral, recital, and chamber music performances in North America and Europe and through his EMI Classics recordings. Noted for his prodigious technique, intriguing programs, artistic maturity and versatility, Mr. Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janácek and Schoenberg as well as works by contemporary composers, including commissions from Leon Kirchner and Lewis Spratlan.

Since he made his New York Philharmonic debut in 2001, Jonathan Biss has appeared with the foremost orchestras of the United States and Europe. He is a frequent performer at leading international music festivals and gives recitals in major music capitals both here and abroad.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, as well, Mr. Biss has performed with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, is a frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, and has toured with "Musicians from Marlboro" on several occasions. He frequently collaborates with such chamber ensembles as the Borromeo and Mendelssohn quartets, and this past summer joined Midori and cellist Johannes Moser in a two-week tour of Bavaria, London, Harrogate, Slovenia, Holland, Copenhagen, and Menorca.

In 2006 EMI Classics signed Mr. Biss to a two-year exclusive contract. His newest album—Mozart Piano Concerto Nos. 21 and 22 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra—was released in October. His previous EMI Classics releases of four Beethoven Sonatas and an all-Schumann recital won an Edison Award and a Diapason d'Or award, respectively. His first recording on the label of works by Beethoven and Schumann was released in 2004 on EMI's Debut series.

Mr. Biss made his New York recital debut at the 92nd Street Y's Tisch Center for the Arts in 2000 and his New York Philharmonic debut under Kurt Masur that same season. Among the many conductors with whom he has worked are Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Pinchas Zukerman.

Jonathan Biss represents the third generation in a family of professional musicians that includes his grandmother Raya Garbousova, one of the first well-known female cellists (for whom Samuel Barber composed his Cello Concerto), as well as his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paul Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Mr. Biss began his piano studies at age six and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. Mr. Biss studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Leon Fleisher.

Mr. Biss, named the winner of the Leonard Bernstein Award at the 2005 Schleswig-Holstein Festival, has won numerous other awards, including the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award, Wolf Trap's Shouse Debut Artist Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He was an artist-in-residence on American Public Media's Performance Today, was the first American chosen to participate in the BBC's New Generation Artists program, and was featured on the CBS Kennedy Center Honors national telecast tribute to honoree Leon Fleisher.
Jonathan Biss